P. T. Barnum once observed, "You can fool some of the people some of the time." We, as Americans, have just observed this maxim in action. Despite record voter turnout, George W. Bush remains the President of the United States. I, for one, am more than a little worried and disturbed over this: I cannot imagine where we will wind up at the end of the next four years. Even though my immediate gut response to the morning radio broadcast was to begin looking for work in other countries, I realized my lack of foreign language education would quite possibly make that more difficult than finding a job here. By ten o'clock, a large cup of coffee and a commiseration/vent with my co-workers, I began to think of ways to not only cope, but also to go ahead and work for change.|
First of all, what if the supporters of the Kerry/Edwards ticket decided to demonstrate their presence and importance to the country? What if we all agreed upon a day to stay at home not working, not buying, and not contributing? We are a large and integral part of the country's driving force; let us make sure the government of this nation does not forget that they cannot have business as usual with HALF a nation. Our votes were not wasted and we need to make certain those in power do not forget this was no landslide victory. We are a nation divided in thought, direction, and heart and we will not go quietly into "loyal opposition" status. Americans, this is not the time to hang our heads and take defeat silently. It is the time to get more involved and more vocal in our causes. The vote was only the first shout. Get your local, state, and national representatives contact information and keep on shouting. We have been heard, our discontent registered, and must continue to be heard if we are to come through the next four years with any sort of respectability either "at home or in the world."
This is a call to go ahead and reach out to those on the lower end of the ever-widening social and economic divide. A call to stand up for rights and freedoms this country was founded on. We must make a difference within the system in place by working toward social and economic change. The best, and possibly easiest place to start is in your own hometown. How can you make your place better? Whose life can you make easier in any way? Certainly it sounds simple enough. If each community worked to make their place the best and safest it could possibly be, we could effect change on a local level. It follows that many local levels together would equal change on a regional, then state scale. The possibilities are endless in a positive fashion. We can no longer wait for change to come to us, to trickle down from Capitol Hill. We MUST be the agents for our own socio-economic salvation and we cannot wait another four years to do it.
Our defeat today is bitter, but living better is the best revenge.
Mary Grace Gainer,
American of Hope and Change
Mary Grace Gainer, M.A. -
Ph.D. Candidate, English Literature & Criticism -
Indiana University of Pennsylvania